Gainesville Product Defect Lawyer
Most people who purchase new products have a reasonable expectation that the products will be safe to use and present no problems when used appropriately. Still, there can often be products that instead end up being faulty and certain defects can lead to people suffering severe injuries.
When you suffer any injury because a product did not perform as it should, you should contact a Gainesville defective products lawyer for assistance recovering all the financial compensation you need for all the bills you are now facing.
Defective product cases can be immensely complicated for people to handle independently. Most victims will find manufacturers, distributors, and retailers enormously unhelpful in paying damages.
A lawyer can hold companies accountable when they sell products with clear safety issues. Calling us can also ensure that nobody else suffers the same harm you have already endured.
The law firm of Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. is ready to evaluate your rights regarding a defective product case.
We have recovered $1 million for clients with product-related injuries, including:
- A client with serious knee injuries due to an exploding flashlight
- A client with injuries due to a defective gun holster that caused the firearm to discharge
contact our team directly to learn how we might help you.
Types of Defective Product Cases
Defective products can include a wide range of possible cases.
Some of the most common kinds of defective product cases can include:
- Dangerous drugs – When pharmaceutical companies provide medications to the public, they must ensure the products provide the promised benefits without unreasonable risks of harm. Some Big Pharma companies rush products onto the market without sufficient research into possible life-altering side effects that harm consumers. For example, the popular heartburn medication Zantac put unknowing users at risk of developing cancer before its recall. Large corporations should be liable for failing to identify or warn of dangerous health risks of medications.
- Defective medical devices – Many patients need medical devices to treat or manage severe medical conditions. However, defective devices can cause more harm than benefit and lead a patient to require additional medical treatment. Some defective medical devices that lead to lawsuits include faulty replacement joints, implants, pacemakers, prosthetics, 3M Bair Hugger warming blankets, Bard IVC blood clot filters, and more.
- Defective children’s products – Children are vulnerable to injuries because they do not identify or appreciate risks. When parents shop for infant and child products, they often do so with safety in mind. Many defective child products make it onto the shelves, and small children can sustain life-threatening injuries when they malfunction. Common examples include car seats, strollers, cribs and beds, foods, pajamas, pacifiers, bottles, baby monitors, bicycles, rings, necklaces and other jewelry, high chairs, playpens, pool toys, bouncers, carriers, baby gates, swings, costumes, bath products, scooters, tricycles, and helmets, among others.
- Defective motor vehicle components – While many car crashes happen because of driver negligence, some occur due to vehicle malfunctions. A defective car or truck can injure a driver. Defective vehicle components include airbags, brake systems, seats and seat belts, steering systems, ignition switches, accelerator controls, tires and wheels, wiring systems, fuel systems, gas tanks, and engines.
- Defective guardrails – When transportation crews install guardrails, the rails should properly work to keep cars on the road. Some defective guardrails include Lindsay X-LITE Guardrail, Trinity ET-Plus, and ET-2000.
- Dangerous workplace products – Many people use tools, vehicles, heavy equipment, or other materials as part of their daily jobs. If a workplace product is defective, however, it puts workers at risk of severe accidents and injuries. When someone suffers an on-the-job injury due to a negligent product manufacturer, they can step outside the workers’ compensation system and seek compensation from the negligent company.
- Dangerous household products – Your home may contain many defective products. Some don’t work safely as promised, while others might not come with the proper warnings for safe storage or household use to avoid injuries. Everyday household products involved in legal claims include acetone, ammonia, bleach, cooking oil, Drano, lye, naphtha or lighter fluid, pesticides, sodium hydroxide, superglue, alcohol, gasoline, lighters, air fresheners, scissors, poisonous plants, anything containing mercury, and firearms.
Types of Product Defects
Defective product lawsuits are usually filed against a manufacturer, wholesaler, or distributor, depending on the type of defect involved. Federal law establishes two primary categories of product defects:
A manufacturing defect is the result of some error in the assembly of a product. Generally, it means the designer did not include the defect in the product’s design. This defect is usually limited only to a single product or possibly a batch of products, so the effects will not be as widespread. With this kind of claim, strict liability may apply, so the manufacturer will be liable for the manufacturing defect regardless of the care they took throughout the manufacturing process.
Design defects relate to flaws in the original plan for products that cause them to be unreasonably dangerous and create a hazard for all potential users of the products. Unlike the limited effects of manufacturing defects, a manufacturing defect is far more widespread because every single person who buys this product will face the same dangers, so recalls can be necessary.
There are three questions related to design defect claims:
- Whether a product’s design presented unreasonable dangers
- Whether the manufacturer could anticipate the product might harm a potential user
- Whether a manufacturer might have used a better but economically feasible design that would not alter the product’s intended function.
Failure to warn
Plaintiffs may also bring defective product lawsuits for a manufacturer’s failure to warn of potential risks. You can hold any party in a distribution chain liable when warnings or instructions might have prevented injury from foreseeable risks.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization overseeing the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. It amended its warning label guidelines in recent decades, and its revised standards endorse signs that are easier to read, offer a more detailed explanation, and illustrate the safety risks with pictures.
ANSI said a warning label should inform consumers of existing hazards, inform consumers of the severity of any risk involved with the particular product, inform consumers of the effects of the hazard, and inform consumers how to avoid hazards. The warning should be prominent and positioned as close to the hazard area as possible.
A warning label should also keep the life expectancy and the typical setting of the product in mind.
To identify the level of severity of a hazard, ANSI assigned three color-coded keywords to alert the consumer:
- Danger (red) – Certain impending hazardous events can cause serious injuries or death.
- Warning (orange) – Potentially hazardous circumstances can cause serious injuries or death.
- Caution (yellow) – Potentially hazardous conditions may result in moderate or slight injuries.
A keyword and description of the hazard are supposed to appear on a square white background for enhanced visibility. Underneath a keyword, a label section dedicated to the description should feature two panels, including a symbol or graphics section and a message section highlighting information pertinent to the hazard.
The Defective Product Claims Process
There are usually three kinds of product liability cases. With a negligence claim, a victim will have to prove that some carelessness in the design or manufacture of any product caused their injuries.
The victim must demonstrate that a negligent party had a duty to sell a safe product but breached this duty. The breach of duty usually involves proving a negligent party knew or should have known its product was defective, and the victim also has to prove the defective product caused their injuries.
Many product liability cases get pursued under the theory of strict liability, in which a victim only has to prove that a product defect exists and caused an injury. When a defect does exist, the manufacturer is strictly liable for any resulting damages regardless of their degree of caution and care when manufacturing the product.
For strict liability to apply, the injured party must have purchased the product in the original distribution chain. This requirement means that products that are purchased second-hand will not be eligible for strict liability claims.
A breach of warranty can also arise in some cases, as most products will have two warranties: an express warranty and an implied warranty. The express warranty is any representation of the product and its safety made by the manufacturer or retailer. In contrast, the implied warranty is an implied promise by the manufacturer that the product, when used as intended, will not cause any harm.
Liable parties in these cases can also differ. Generally, the three responsible parties in defective product cases include manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers.
This manufacturer may be a giant company or an individual, but it can also include parties involved in a product’s design or marketing. You can sue the manufacturer of a defective part in the product or the product manufacturer.
Claims against retailers involve the sellers being responsible for ensuring the products they sell are safe. Even though the seller was not responsible for manufacturing a defective product, it can still be liable for damages.
The wholesaler is the distributor that sells products to retailers. They are, in effect, the intermediaries in the transactions between manufacturers and retailers, and they can also face liability in some instances.
How long can you wait to file a claim?
The statute of limitations in Florida for product liability or defective product claim is four years from the date of a person’s injury. Still, a wrongful death reduces the time limit to two years. There are exceptions to this statute of limitations, such as injuries that are not immediately apparent or manufacturers offering more extended warranty periods.
Nevertheless, Florida’s statute of repose (the law cutting off the right of action after a specified period has elapsed regardless of when a cause of action accrues) is 12 years. The state does, however, honor the Discovery Rule, which establishes that the statute of limitations for a cause of action will not begin to run until the time that an injured party discovers or reasonably should have discovered an injury.
Even if you are not close to the statute of limitations or statute of repose, you want to start the legal process as soon as possible. You do not want to lose evidence or other vital information because you waited to contact our defective product attorneys.
Damages for product liability injuries
A product liability claim can recover economic (or actual) and non-economic (or general) damages.
Economic damages refer to losses that are calculable and provable, such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Treatment costs
Non-economic damages are much more subjective and difficult to quantify, which leaves the amounts mainly at the discretion of a jury.
Examples may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
It can take time to reach an appropriate settlement with a manufacturer and its insurance companies. Still, the right attorney from our firm knows how to negotiate a suitable level of compensation that covers every single expense you have incurred or are going to incur. If a settlement is not reachable, you want a law firm that doesn’t hesitate to take on large corporations in court.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Gainesville Defective Products Lawyer
If you sustain severe injuries in an accident a defective product caused, retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. has fought on behalf of injury victims all over Florida since 1983, helping our clients recover every last dollar available to them.
Our firm maintains an unparalleled winning percentage in personal injury cases, and both Super Lawyers and the American Trial Lawyers have recognized us for our work. You can call (800) 800-2575 or contact us online for your free consultation so we can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.